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NICKI PARROTT/If You Could Read My Mind: There's noting like having so much chops that you can take what should have been a gift shop record and turn it into a statement. Parrott rounds up first call pals and cherry picks a set of 70s pop rolling it all into a vocal set that shows her off in ways you've never heard her before. The only negative here is how boomers are going to wince when they realize the soundtrack of their youth is already 50 years old. These probably aren't a bunch of songs you'd stack together but she makes it really work. This will be a classic after hours album for people that grind their teeth a bit at paying a sitter $20 an hour these days. Hot stuff.
(Arbors 19482)

STEVEN HARLOS/Piano Music of Dick Hyman: So, we have an accomplished piano man you've never hear d of playing the works of a mainstay piano man that's been around forever but somehow feels under appreciated. The three main works presented here, solo, take you on a tour of Hyman's interests which have a history as old as he is but still feel spry. A real tour de force recital for both parties, if you're the type of person that can sit back and listen, this is a true gasser.
(Arbors 19483)

RICH PELLEGRIN/Solitude: Solo piano improv that veers from impressionistic to stately and back. Leaving his group work behind for a hot second, this set gives him the room to stretch out and really call his own shots as there's no need for telepathy. The cat plays deep and never loses your attention.
(OA2 22189)

DAVID FRIESEN & BOB RAVENSCROFT/Passage: There's a bunch of different kinds of things going on here as these two improvisers of long standing friendship sat down together with nothing thought out ahead of time except getting out of each others way and rolling tape on improvs about their personal devotion to Christ, not religion. Didn't know how much quasi crime jazz could be squeezed out of the body of the host. It's a very personal record they invite you to join them in.
(Origin 82820)

RODNEY WHITAKER/Outrospection: Scooting out of the classroom for a hot second with several of the professors under him, Whitaker gives a full album to the works of up and comer Gregg Hill who already feels like a jazz old soul. The music is rooted in civil rights jazz, which certainly has a place in these times, and is delivered in proper fashion by the pros on board. A real ear opener that's good for the spirit.
(Origin 82819)

MICHAEL WALDROP/Time Frames: The percussionist shows there's more that you can do with rhythm than provide heat for the feet. Kind of a world jazz based set that takes you well off the beaten path, if things like marimba, kalimba and such are familiar to you, this often trancy set with tickle your fancy in a nice way. Step into his chamber and feel the beat.
(Origin Classical 33025)

OJOYO/Plays Safrojazz: A reissue of a 1996 album that still sounds fresh is the kind of stuff that makes you smile. A long standing sidekick to the stars, South African Morris Goldberg played on "You Can Call Me Al" and this set is loaded with that kind of feeling. Happy bouncy music that had a few budding superstars in it's ranks back then, this is a wonderful party and you're invited in case you missed it the first time around.
(Sunnyside 4115)

GABOR LESKO/Earthway: Snazzy Italian fusion guitarist now on his 8th album calls in some fusion hitters to give this star power that matches it's fret power. A real ear opener that wouldn't know a cliché if one was introduced, he's no Mahavishnu wannabe but he plays like he was a natural part of that era. Hot stuff.
(Creativity's Paradise 3)

ARTURO O'FARRILL/Virtual Birdland: I don't know if this is a good thing or a bad thing but the pandemic proved that the right players with the right chops don't have to be in the same time zone or even on the same time line to get together in cyberspace and kick it out all together. Carla Bley was right when she first hired O'Farrill as a tyro. An outgrowth of weekly streams this bunch crafted to bring some happiness to the stranded masses, you can feel the heat they fearlessly brought and it's muy caliente. It's a clarion call for deadened synapses that need reviving.
(Zoho 202105)

AMBER WEEKES/Round Midnight Reimagined: The child of Harlem royalty, Weekes redoes a promo record she made 20 years ago that seems a direct connection to Harlem Renaissance. You can feel the grandeur and glory that was Strivers Row that would later find it's way to songs like Curtis Mayfield's "We're a Winner". If you want to know how class can sound sexy, sultry and soulful, this is the ground zero lesson in it all. Killer stuff.
(Amber Inn)

JEANNINE OTIS/Into My Heart: If she didn't tell you she's been singing for 40 years, you'd think she was here to take Sade to school---in the jungle room. This set is just made for leopard skin prints and bamboo covered walls. And this cousin of Detroit's Jones family knows how to bring it. This is some damn serious velvet soul vocals.

Volume 45/Number 167
April 16, 2021
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2021 Midwest Record

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